Guth key to Pats with "dirty work"


Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Heritage Hills senior Adam Guth (32) rises after fighting for a rebound and getting a pass off Friday against Perry Central.

LINCOLN CITY — When his father and grandfather both being high school basketball players and coaches, Adam Guth was bound to pick up on some habits that would lead to his own success on the hardwood.

Guth is unlikely to score 20 points and stand out on the score sheet for Heritage Hills, but the values that he brings as a basketball player make him a very important part of the Patriots. His father, Mike, coached the Patriot girls from 2003-04 through the 2010-11 seasons, with Adam spending much of his days in the gym playing with a basketball as a young lad.

Adam’s grandfather, Roger, played basketball at Dale and coached at South Spencer, and the Heritage Hills senior credits both his father and grandfather for instilling the approach that he has towards the sport.

“Both of those guys — great basketball players, great basketball coaches,” Adam said. “I do all that dirty work because they taught me to. I’ve been playing with this group of guys for years and years and years — and that’s always just been my style of play — play as hard as I can and try and lead by example. And hopefully, the other guys take after that (and) play up with me.”

Friday’s 63-48 home win against Perry Central was the regular season finale of his high school career. He’s had to wear a lot of hats in his four years at Heritage Hills. While some players are fortunate enough to start as underclassmen, Adam’s primary role came with the junior varsity squad as late as his junior year, and many players were ahead of him on the depth chart.

However, an opportunity arose when the Pats graduated three starters last year in Murray Becher, Simon Scherry and Cole Sigler. Saying goodbye to other key pieces in the rotation in Mark Doyle and Cayden Kratzer opened the door even wider for players like Adam who were seeking a greater varsity role this season.

Adam has seized that opportunity as somebody who dives for loose balls, blocks out, plays defense and leads both with his voice and by example. Pats coach Nate Hawkins described Adam in a Feb. 20 text to the Herald as the “glue guy” on the team — that he’s the “definition of a team player and leader.”

“As important as he is to us on the floor, he’s that much more important to us off the floor because he is not afraid to speak up and lead and teach these kids,” Hawkins said on Monday.

Hawkins is in his fifth year as the Heritage Hills coach, and the Pats have seen a lot of winning with him at the helm. They’ve won so much to the point that they’ve rarely lost — let alone two games in a row under his tenure. However, the Pats had themselves an anomaly this season.

Heritage Hills dropped a 60-48 loss Feb. 6 against Castle and a 66-60 overtime loss Feb. 12 at Forest Park. To get an idea of how rare that’s been for this program, the Pats last lost consecutive games on Dec. 28, 2019 at the Raymond James Hall of Fame Classic against some stiff competition in Silver Creek and Lafayette Jeff. The last time before that, however, was Jan. 27-28, 2017, when they fell shy, 49-47 at Evansville Mater Dei, then 53-52 against South Spencer.

“You can’t linger on losses — especially losses as heartbreaking as that one,” Adam said of the Forest Park game. “You got to put it behind you and focus on the next team, focus on the next game.”

Hawkins said that was the message to the team in the locker room after the game — that they have to have a short memory and be ready for South Spencer the next night.

“I think Adam was a big catalyst in that just because you could see in his eyes, and as I’m speaking, he’s nodding,” Hawkins said. “He’s getting it, and he knows that he’s got to have his team ready to go.”

The Pats came back and enjoyed a bounce back win on senior night with a 61-50 win against the Rebels. He dropped six points in the game, which may not be a lot, but the way that he plays the game has others appreciating his efforts, which makes it all worth it to him.

He feels the “dirty work” that he does may often go unnoticed, but not this year. Adam recalls the times when people have approached him after games and thank him for what he has done — which has kept him going and made him better at what he does out on the court.

Hawkins hopes each of Heritage Hills’ younger players can each pick up something from Adam, who has worked for everything he has gotten.

“The one thing that I’m going to really miss about him is that leadership that he brings every day in practice and to the games as well with his effort that he plays on the floor.”

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